Data Shows Which State Had The Most Deaths From Influenza And Pneumonia In 2021

Influenza, better known by the shorthand term, flu, is a viral illness that affects the throat, nose, and lungs (via Mayo Clinic). For most people, getting the flu means a few days of feeling sick, but there are demographics of people who are more susceptible to experiencing complications from influenza or dying from it. These groups include women who are pregnant, people with weakened immune systems, older adults over 65 years of age, and children younger than five years. The flu is especially dangerous for infants younger than six months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that symptoms of the flu generally include fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, cough, and a runny nose or congestion. When it comes to complications from the flu, some people may experience an ear or sinus infection. However, others may experience more severe complications, like pneumonia or inflammation of the heart, muscle tissue, or brain. On the extreme end, multi-organ failure can be a complication of the flu, and sometimes these complications can be fatal. Because of hospitalizations, medical visits, and medications prescribed to combat both influenza and complications from the virus, there is a significant burden on the healthcare system (per CDC). During the 2019-2020 flu season, the CDC reported an estimated 380,000 hospitalizations due to the flu, which was congruent with influenza-related hospitalizations from the year before.

Fatality rates of influenza

When it comes to deaths from the flu, the states with the highest recorded numbers are West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama. Mississippi has the most deaths from influenza with a rate of 20.1 per 100,000 people. Alabama comes in second when it comes to flu-based deaths with a rate of 16.8 per 100,000 people, and West Virginia has recorded influenza death rates of 16.6 per 100,000 people. On the other end of the spectrum, states that reported the least number of deaths from the flu are Vermont, Oregon, and Colorado. Oregon has the least reported flu deaths in the nation with only 4.4 deaths per 100,000 people, and Vermont is just barely behind with only 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people.

To prevent complications and fatalities from the flu, there are many ways that you can protect yourself. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the best ways to protect yourself is to obtain an annual flu shot, especially since influenza is a virus that can mutate (per Mayo Clinic). Annual vaccinations are updated to protect against the latest variants of the flu. Maintaining healthy hygiene habits like hand washing and refraining from touching your nose, eyes, or mouth are also ways to stay healthy.